A Phase named Crystal

SUBHEAD: Reaching over the dark horizon to loosen crystals of ice, winter light warms our hearts.

By Juan Wilson on 24 December 2014 for Island Breath -

Image above: Aerial illustration by Richard Schlect for National Geographic magazine of traditional "long houses"of the Iroquois nation along a river in Western New York 500 years ago. From (http://www.islandbreath.org/TheGobbler/Articles%20Published/Seasonal%20SZ/07%20Crystal/sz_iroquois_winter.html).

Most of the material below was originally from in a almanac/newsletter called The Gobbler that my wife and I published in western New York state between 1993 and 2000 (when we moved to Hawaii). The Gobbler was focused on local issues and the Wheel of the Year as it turns through the seasons and our lives. That journalistic partnership became Island Breath in January of 2004. Merry Christmas at this time as we return to the light.    

Reaching over the dark horizon
to loosen crystals of ice, winter light warms our hearts.

by Linda Pascatore/Juan Wilson - Winter Crystal 2000

Boots crunching the trail
hands numb in woolen mittens
tongue catching snowflakes.

by Linda Pascatore - Winter Crystal 1999

The sun returning
bringing crystal morning light
to warm all creatures.

by Linda Pascatore, Winter Crystal, 1998

The Phase Named Crystal
By Linda Pascatore on 21 December 1995 for The Gobbler

We have divided the year into eight phases, based on the Solstices, the Equinoxes and the midpoints of the four seasons (see Solar Phases below). We are now in the phase of Crystal, which begins on the shortest day and longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice on December 21st. There will be one full moon this period, on January 9th.

We have named it Popping Trees Moon because you can hear the sap in the trees pop when it is extremely cold. This period of Crystal ends on February 5th, just after Ground Hog's day. That is the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. From the solstice on, the light will slowly return as the days grow longer and the nights shorter. Although this period will bring more light, the coldest part of the winter is still ahead of us.

Birds will be very active during this time. Many species not usually seen here in Western New York will be migrating from the north. Look for snow buntings, often found in large flocks over snowy fields, with brown and black patterns on their back and wings. Cedar waxwings might be found in trees with berries. These are brown birds with crested heads, yellow bands on the tail tip, and red stripes on wings.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, The Winter Solstice occurs on December 21st at 2:21 PM EST. Jupiter will be closest to Earth on December 30th and brightest on New Year's Eve, rising in the northeast at nightfall.

IB Publisher's note: Below are some of the seasonal articles Linda and I published between 1994 and 2000.

Christmas Unplugged
Are you tired of a hyped, glitzy, materialistic, stressful Christmas that has lost it's true meaning? Are you spending beyond your budget and still finding that your children want more brand name toys every year?

Iroquois Midwinter
The New Year or Midwinter Festival began on the first new moon after the solstice. It was the longest of the eight major Iroquois festivals, lasting almost three weeks. It must have been a welcome break from the monotony of winter, when the weather often required spending a lot of time indoors.

Wildlife Christmas Tree
Last Christmas we visited a home with a beautiful tree decorated with nuts and dried fruit. The best thing about using this type of decoration is that you can share your Christmas tree with the birds and squirrels after the holiday.

Seasons Greetings This is a time when nature holds her breath: stillness reigns in this most quiet period of the year. The bugs fall silent, plant growth ceases, animals hibernate, and many birds leave. The lakes and streams are frozen, and the land is insulated with a blanket of snow.

Christmas Traditions
Nativity scenes, Santa Claus, reindeer, stars, wreaths and holly, stockings and presents are all associated with Christmas. Some traditions are directly related to the Christian holiday, while others had their origin earlier in various midwinter or solstice celebrations.

Earliest Christmas Memories
Not a story but a group of memories about a Christmas long past that linger to this day.

Mele Kalikimaka
It means "Merry Christmas" in Hawaii. That's not the only detail that make it strange to be in the tropics at this season of the year.

House of the Sun
This Solstice my husband and I shared a spiritual experience at the House of the Sun. We drove to the summit of Haleakela at dawn on Maui, Hawaii.


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